BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — A judge has ordered a mental health exam for a Minnesota man accused of opening fire in a health clinic northwest of Minneapolis, killing one staff member and injuring four others.
The exam, granted Monday at the request of the defense, will help determine if Gregory Ulrich is mentally competent to help with his own defense.
According to a criminal complaint, Ulrich walked into the Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo, a small city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis, on Feb. 9 and opened fire, killing 37-year-old medical assistant Lindsay Overbay and wounding four other staff members. Ulrich, 67, is charged with murder, attempted murder and other counts.
He is also accused of setting off several pipe bombs at the clinic. Ulrich eventually surrendered to law enforcement.
“While we understand the state has a job to do in this case, we will leave the actual opinions regarding Mr. Ulrich’s mental health and ability to assist in his own defense to the professional evaluator," Ulrich’s public defender Gregory Davis said in a statement. "We also believe that those evaluators will be essential in assisting in the clarification of his past mental health issues and the lack of response to those issues.”
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said he believes Ulrich has demonstrated the ability to participate in his own defense, KSTP-TV reported.
“I think some of the statements that he made leading up to the shooting and also after the shooting demonstrate that he knew the nature of his act and what he did was wrong, because he talked about a spinal injury and he talked about sending lots of ambulances to the clinic, so he clearly knew what he did was wrong,” Lutes said.
Police have said Ulrich was no stranger to them and was known to have been angry over his medical treatment. While authorities have said they had no recent interactions that would have raised alarms, court documents show that Ulrich threatened a mass shooting at the clinic in 2018. That threat led to a restraining order that barred Ulrich from the clinic and a nearby hospital as well as ordered he have no contact with a doctor.
The competency evaluation could take 60 days. Ulrich is scheduled to be back in court on May 20.